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A financial-services ad campaign even Mark Carney would love

Samsung has released a series of ads focusing on Paralympic athletes.

Samsung and the 'superhumans'

During the Olympics, the airwaves were filled with advertisers using images of the athletes they sponsored, and touting their support of each country's team.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is one of the brands betting that consumers want to see Paralympic athletes given the same attention. It has a new campaign featuring athletes from around the world talking about their challenges, but the complaints have nothing to do with their disability. Instead, they talk about the same problems every elite athlete faces: sore muscles, adverse weather conditions or not being able to sleep before a big competition, for example. The ads showcase their competitiveness and drive. Samsung has also released a video for the Canadian market featuring Team Canada sledge hockey captain Greg Westlake.

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There has been an upswing in recent years, with ads focusing on Paralympians' athleticism, rather than their disabilities. The Canadian Paralympic Committee in 2012 created a moving and inspiring campaign under the slogan "Unstoppable." And the gold standard in recent years is Britain's Channel 4, which during the London Summer Games released a stunning ad, beautifully photographed with the message, "Meet the Superhumans."


Back in black

It is an ad campaign after Mark Carney's heart.

Were he still watching Canadian television, the former Bank of Canada governor, whose pet project was persuading Canadians to lower their consumer debt, might just have been a fan of the newest ads for Interac. The debit card and electronic payment service's new marketing strategy is to try to make staying out of debt seem cool.

The new ads by Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo show people paying with Interac to a soundtrack of AC/DC's Back in Black and accompanied by pyrotechnic displays. The idea is to lend some swagger to the idea of being in the black – rather than using credit.

The ads will appear through the spring on TV, outdoor ads, online and on social media. The brand is hoping to use consumers' real concerns about racking up debt to persuade them to use its services more often.

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It is a shift in strategy for Interac, which changed ad agencies last spring. One thing is certain: It faces an uphill battle in equating anything to do with financial services with rock and roll.

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